Farmers’ manual on criminal justice issues
Agri SA has learned of several cases in the past where farmers were unlawfully arrested without sound investigative work having been done and because of false statements. To make farmers aware of their rights and to provide broad guidelines as to how they should act in the event of an arrest, the Trust Fund made funds available to compile a manual that was distributed to farmers via the Agri distribution network
Evaluation of the Rural Protection Plan
The Rural Protection Plan was developed to encourage all role-players to work together and become involved in a co-ordinated manner in communal planning, actions and the monitoring of crime in rural areas. The Institute for Security Studies (ISS) conducted research to determine the effectiveness of the Rural Protection Plan and to gain insight into the nature of crime on farms and smallholdings.
Profile study of convicted criminals
Technikon RSA conducted an inquiry in order to compile a profile of a criminal – who had already been sentenced – involved in farm attacks. To this end, interviews were held with 48 convicted criminals in prison. They were asked why they had become involved in the attacks and why victimshad been murdered with such violence after the criminal had already succeeded in his objective. The study was completed in 2001.
Action Stop Farm Attacks
A countrywide petition campaign was launched on 31 May 2000, calling on the government to take effective action to curb farm attacks. The ultimate objective of the campaign was the total eradication of farm attacks, with the emphasis on mobilising the public of South Africa and to generate maximum pressure locally and abroad so that the government would commit to a more effective effort and make the resources available to prevent farm attacks. A further important objective was to ensure that the rural community, and especially farm dwellers were more prepared for such attacks.
Inquiry into the criminal justice system
The Institute for Security Studies (ISS), at the request of Agri SA, conducted an investigation for the organisation’s National Law and Order Committee to identify shortcomings in the criminal justice system and to ascertain why existing sentences do not serve as a deterrent for farm attackers. The purpose of this was also to analyse crime trends and demographic information so that future trouble spots could be identified and proactive steps taken. Part of the investigation also focused on the possibility of the death penalty for certain violent crimes.
SAPS Security Brochure
As part of the NOCOC’s communication strategy on the Rural Protection Plan and to promote rural safety, the SAPS has compiled a security brochure that will be distributed to farmers countrywide. The brochures will contain core aspects of rural safety and will be available in English, Afrikaans and various black languages.
Training in battle indications
Lukas Swart was appointed by the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) to present training seminars countrywide aimed at equipping the farming community with relevant information to anticipate and deal with farm attacks. Battle indications are the guidelines that criminals follow in order to carry out their tasks. In all farm attacks these indications were visible beforehand. This means that, if one had had this information at that time, many farm attacks could have been prevented. The Trust Fund made a financial contribution towards the training seminars, which ensure that the information that becomes available can prevent many farm attacks.
Obelisk to commemorate farmers who were murdered during farm attacks
An obelisk to commemorate farmers and their family members who were murdered during farm attacks was erected on the site of Grain SA’s harvest farm, outside Bothaville. The obelisk consists of nine columns, each depicting one of the nine provinces of South Africa. The names of the deceased in the nine provinces appear on the relevant column. This obelisk is the only one of its kind and serves as a unique way of paying tribute to these farmers and their family members. The Trust Fund made a contribution to the bronze statue at the obelisk.
Financing of organised agriculture’s security committees
The unacceptable high levels of farm attacks necessitates the input and participation of all representatives from the nine provinces to be able to offer effective protection countrywide. The co-operation of provincial representatives are also vital to implement and manage the Rural Protection Plan, of which Agri SA forms part. All role-players within the broader Agri SA family must plan together and co-ordinate in order to make a difference to the security situation on farms. To achieve this objective, the Trust Fund made a contribution to Agri SA’s national as well as nine provincial security committees to enable them to effectively perform their functions and role within the Rural Protection Plan.
Reformanda Counselling Service in Potchefstroom developed a special trauma assistance programme for victims of farm attacks. The service was specifically introduced to focus on traumatised victims of farm attacks and to assist them so that they could resume their place in society. In addition, the programme focuses on equipping people with the necessary skills – through relevant training courses – to assist fellow-community members with trauma-related counselling. These courses are also available to church leaders, social workers and members of the SAPS who are often the first to deal with traumatised victims after an incident. It is important to know who to deal with traumatised victims from the start. The Trust Fund has made a contribution to the counselling service in support of its continued counselling service at the University.